Four: Take The Boy Out Of The Strange...
Shop Talk Four: Take The Boy Out Of The Strange...
A Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Smallville crossover
: Xander's the new shop teacher at Smallville High, and while he was expecting a nice, normal, quiet job, things never turn out so easily for our young Sunnydale native.Disclaimer
: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Smallville belongs to the WB, or by CW, or someone who isn't me. I am but borrowing the characters for a brief time and shall return them intact at the end.Rating: PG-13 for swearing, heart-pounding suspense
: This doesn't have any spoilers past Smallville season 2, mainly because I haven't seen Smallville since then. So nice and spoiler free.~~~~~
Finding the Smallville library wasn't that difficult. Asking the clerk where they kept the old newspapers wasn't difficult. Faced with over a hundred years of newsprint and no idea where to start? That was difficult.
Well, the meteor shower was a good place to start. Just to be on the safe side, Xander skimmed the papers for the year before the shower. With the most interesting news item relating to the county farm pig-race winners, Xander came up blank. If anything, the town was weird in its lack of weird. No strange deaths, no exsanguinations, no unexplained decapitations. Even the vampires must have avoided this place.
Then... the meteor shower.
Overnight, the weekly paper became a daily, with lists of the dead and wounded. The reporters hadn't been able to remain detached when writing about people who had been neighbors, friends, and in one case, Xander noted from the name in the byline, family.
Two days after the meteor shower, the cover of the paper featured a photograph of a crying child. Xander looked at the caption. Lana Lang. The story inside the paper featured the children of the meteor shower, and described at length how Lana's parents had driven into town for the high school football game. Lana had been across the street with her aunt when a meteor struck the Lang's car, killing them both instantly.
And Lana had seen it all.Poor kid.
Xander turned the page.~~~
Two hours later, Xander closed his eye and rested his head against the back of the chair. It figured. It absolutely figured. He left Cleveland to live a "normal" life, out in Hicksville where nothing ever happened, and he ended up in an episode of the X-Files.
Killer bees. Strange fires. Lightening strikes out of nowhere. Strange drownings in the lake. The announcement in the paper of the Kents adopting a little orphan boy, suspiciously soon after the meteor shower.
At least Xander hadn't been able to find any records of vampire killings. That was something, he supposed.
And it all started around the time of the meteor shower. So, demons?
Xander wondered. Space demons? Don't we have enough of the normal kind here on Earth?
"Excuse me? Mr. Harris?"
Xander looked up. It was one of the kids from the school. "Mark, hey." Xander struggled to sit up and look like less of a slob, more of a role model. Yeah, right.
Mark smiled, showing crooked teeth. "We're closing up soon."
Xander frowned. "It's only three."
Mark shrugged. "It's Smallville."
With a sigh, Xander stood up and began to gather the newspapers.
"Oh, don't worry about that, I can do it," Mark said, jumping in. He picked up the open volume. "You're reading up on the meteor shower?"
"Yes..." Xander cast about, trying to think of a reason he would have been researching the town's strange past. Because being bored beyond belief isn't enough?
"Someone mentioned it."
"Cool." Mark stacked the papers together. "You might want to talk to Chloe Sullivan. She's the editor of the Torch? The school paper?"
Mark shrugged again. "She's, you know, into the weird. Had this whole thing about the meteor shower in last month's Torch."
Xander resisted the urge to sigh again. He felt so old. Would his entire life be centered around teenage girls and weird things in high schools? Now he was starting to feel like Giles. All he needed was a pair of glasses and ugly tweed. "Thanks, Mark, I'll do that."
Walking into the sunny afternoon, Xander pulled out his cell phone. There was only one thing he wanted to do, but sadly, since crawling under his bed and hiding wasn't an option, he hit the speed dial and waited.
"Hi, this is Willow. I'm not available right now, but please leave me a message. If this is an emergency, hit five now. Thanks!"
As much as he wanted it, Xander refrained from hitting the emergency button. He could wait to talk to Willow. "Hey, it's Xander," he said after the beep. "Just wanted to call, say hi, that stuff. And, um... yeah, so there's this thing about the town I'm in?" He lowered his voice as he walked down the sidewalk. "A meteor shower hit the town twelve years ago and things started to get weird. Not like Sunnydale weird... except it is. I guess I just wondered if, you know, you'd heard a thing."
Good to know his charming people skills still worked on Willow.
"Call me and we can talk. And don't think I've forgotten about your birthday, so you'd better be willing to... travel..." Xander's voice trailed off as something pinged on the edge of his consciousness. "Gotta go, Willow."
Stuffing the cell phone back in his pocket, Xander tried to figure out what was going on, what had put him so on edge. He had wandered down a side street, where there was a fair amount of construction going on. Since it was Saturday, the sites were silent, no work being done.
Then, faintly, Xander heard a voice, so faint. "Help!"
Hell. Xander ran in the direction of the voice. "Hello?" he shouted. "Where are you?"
"Help me!" the voice came again, muffled like it was underground. Xander changed direction. It took him a few minutes, but he finally found the entrance to the basement, still under construction.
Squeezing through the gap in the rebar, Xander picked his way across the skeleton floor. A security guard lay pinned underneath a fallen support beam. Even as Xander neared, he spotted the faint dusting of concrete powder drifting down.
The unsupported ceiling was slowly collapsing.
"Hold on, I'm going to get you out of here!" Xander said, tugging futilely at the beam. The thing had to be solid steel, far too heavy for Xander.
"The ceiling's going to go!" the guard shouted. His eyes were wide with fear and panic. How long had he lain here, waiting for the roof to fall in on him? "Oh man, we're going to die!"
"No, we're not." Xander gave up trying to move the beam, and pulled out his cell phone. It might have been the concrete or something else, but there was no reception. "You're not dead until you're dead, and even then there's room for negotiations." Taking the guard's hands, he tried to pull the man out, but the beam lay over his legs.
The beam might be steel, but the floor underneath the guard was wood, and that was the only thing that had saved the man's legs from being turned into pudding. Xander quickly weighed his options. He could run out of the building and get help, but that would take time he might not have. The ceiling was creaking, as gravity pulled down on all that concrete. There was no time.
"Hold on, I've got an idea," Xander said, coughing around the dust. There was a crowbar lying in the corner, which Xander quickly retrieved. He'd never be able to get through the wood, so he started pounding away at the corner bindings. If he could just get the one beam loose...
His voice lifted with the guard's, shouting for help, but not really expecting it. They were too far away from anyone, and the town was pretty dead on a Saturday. If only Xander had Slayer strength, if only someone would hear them...
The ceiling creaked, then a chunk of concrete came down, then another, and another. Xander dropped the crowbar and leaned over the guard, shielding the man from the falling rubble. My life's not even flashing before my eyes,
Xander thought, feeling somewhat cheated.
Out of nowhere, a blur of red. Xander looked up in time to see Clark Kent suddenly appear, moving faster than anyone ought to, and lift the steel beam off the guard effortlessly, tossing it aside. "I've got him," Clark said, scooping up the guard. The boy didn't even seem to notice as a block of concrete fell on his head, then bounced to the side.
Now was not the time to wonder about Clark's indestructible head. "Then why are we still here?" Xander demanded. He followed Clark up the stairs, hardly able to see. Halfway up, hands grabbed Xander and helped him the rest of the way.
They had barely cleared the building when the entire thing collapsed in on itself with a loud crash.
Xander was too concerned with coughing the concrete dust out of his lungs to speak. Clark laid the guard down on the sidewalk, then looked up at the man beside Xander. "Dad?" Clark said, so worried.
"It's okay, son," the man said. "Go run to the Johnstones, go use their phone..." His voice trailed off as the sound of approaching sirens filled the air.
A police car screeched to a halt beside the gathered group, and a man in a deputy's outfit popped out. "Jonathan? Steven? Someone called the building collapse in. What's going on?" the deputy demanded, hurrying over to the prone guard.
"Clark and I were driving past, when we heard someone calling for help," Jonathan said. Clark said nothing, only throwing Xander worried glances.
"His legs are broken," the deputy muttered. "I'm going to call for an ambulance. Hey, Steve, can you hear me?"
The guard nodded weakly. "Thought I was going to die," he breathed.
The deputy smiled bravely. "You're not getting out of your sister's Sunday dinner that easy," he said as he reached for the radio on his shoulder. "Beth would never forgive me, and you know how she is."
Did everyone in this town know each other? Xander slumped back on the sidewalk, letting his gaze drift over to the remains of the building.
Clark had lifted that steel beam effortlessly. And what kind of person had concrete bounce
off their head? In the battle between concrete and head, concrete always won, even against a Slayer. No goddamned sense.~~~
"I've already explained this twice."
The sheriff leaned against the counter and scowled at Xander. "Not to me."
"Fine." Xander rotated his shoulder. He suspected he'd sprained something when using the crowbar. "I was at the library. It closed. I went for a walk, ended up by a bunch of construction sites. Someone was screaming for help. I went down into the building, found Steve the guard pinned to the ground by a beam. My cell phone didn't work, and I was afraid the ceiling would come down if I went for help." Xander nodded across the table at Clark and Jonathan. "Clark came down and together we were able to get Steve out."
Xander longed for the Sunnydale police, who really didn't care about the weird stuff that happened in their down. "I was trying to break loose one of the wooden beams under Steve. Clark must have helped. I didn't see much, there was a lot of dust." What else could it have been?
Xander thought at the cop.
The sheriff switched his attention to Clark and Jonathan. "That's what happened?"
Clark nodded, so nervous. "Mom had forgotten something at the store, and me and Dad, we were taking the long way--"
"What Clark's trying to say is that we were in the right place at the right time," Jonathan interrupted smoothly. "We heard someone yelling for help, and Clark noticed the dust coming out of the building."
The sheriff shook his head. "You're all damned lucky, you know that?" he demanded. "I talked to the foreman on that project, there was enough concrete and steel in that building to crush each and every one of you."
"Did Steve say how the beam fell on him?" Xander asked. He didn't want to draw the attention of the cop, but he had to know. With everything he had learned about this town, who was to say it was just an accident?
The sheriff pushed himself away from the counter. "Steve was lying down there a long time," he muttered. "He's railing on about dark shapes. He'll be better once the doctors set his legs and the pain medication has a chance to kick in."
"Can we go?" Jonathan asked. "Martha's probably worried."
"Sure," the sheriff said. "And Mr. Harris..."
Xander sat straight upright. "Yes?"
To Xander's surprise, the sheriff smiled. "Not many people would have stayed with Steve like that."
"I couldn't leave him there," Xander said, honestly surprised.
The sheriff nodded. "I know." Someone across the office called out, and the sheriff walked away.
Not sure if he'd been complimented or insulted, Xander stood up. This was a strange place.
When he left the sheriff's office, the sun was beginning to dip on the horizon. Xander checked his watch, only to realize that the face had been crushed at some point in the afternoon.No passing out in public,
Xander sternly told himself as he leaned against a nearby wall. He'd been that close to death before, right? Probably.
And just like before, Xander'd had his ass saved by superhuman strength.
It was Clark, with Jonathan right behind him. Xander blinked. "Call me Xander," he said automatically, his gaze going right to Clark. The boy didn't look like a space demon. Hell, saving someone from falling concrete wasn't exactly the action of a big bad. "And thanks," he said to Clark. "For saving my life."
The expression Clark had didn't calm Xander down at all. It was the Buffy look, the "I've used my super powers in the way I'm not supposed to and someone saw me" look. "I was just in the right place at the right time," the boy said.
"That's for sure." Xander pushed off the wall. He didn't want to have to admit to Jonathan that he'd seen Clark be inhumanly strong, didn't want to have that
conversation with anyone. "I'll see you in class on Monday."
Xander turned and walked away before anyone could say anything else.
It was late, he was exhausted and bruised, and he knew there was a whole lot of researching he had to do before he could sleep.
Just like the bad old days.to be continued, probably